August 26th, 2014
Attacking tenure and job protections has become the rage in school
reform circles. In recent years some states have either eliminated
tenure or cut back on teacher job protections by legislative means, and
the courts have become a new battleground since a California judge last
month declared unconstitutional state statutes that give job protections
to teachers. There are two similar lawsuits in New York state and more
are expected to be filed in other states.
If you ask 10 people to
explain tenure for K-12 teachers, most of them would likely say that it
is a job guarantee so ironclad that tenured teachers can’t be fired.
While there are cases in which it takes way too long to remove teachers
who shouldn’t be in the classroom, tenure is not, in fact, a lifetime
job guarantee, as tenured teachers can and do get fired. In this post,
veteran teacher David B. Cohen takes apart some of the “the problem with
tenure” arguments. Cohen is National Board Certified, and is
associate director of the Accomplished California Teachers group. Cohen
is taking a leave this year from teaching to work on a blog and a book
about great teachers and schools around California. This appeared on InterACT, his group’s blog.